Author Warren St. John appears at ArtsQuest April 19
Posted on 4/13/2011
Warren St. John
Bismarck State College ArtsQuest continues its roster of guest artists Tuesday, April 19, with a presentation by New York Times feature writer Warren St. John at 7:30 p.m. in Sidney J. Lee Auditorium.
St. John has written two acclaimed books, one chosen for BSC's fall Campus Read, when students faculty and staff read his non-fiction book: "Outcasts United: an American Town, a Refugee Team, and One Woman's Quest to Make a Difference."
The presentation includes discussion of the book's story, its real life people and the social experiment St. John calls "a laboratory in getting along." St. John will focus on life lessons, social change, and how the fresh perspective of newcomers and volunteerism can build bridges across social chasms.
"Outcasts United" recounts what happened when three disparate elements - a resistant small Georgia town, a soccer team of resettled refugee boys, and its Jordanian-born female coach, Luma Mufleh - came together in a kind of social experiment. Theirs is a story of resilience, the power of one person to make a difference, and the daunting challenge of creating community in an environment where people seem to have little in common.
The boys, who called themselves The Fugees, came from the Congo, Burundi, Sudan, Liberia, Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, among other countries. They are boys whose families were selected by the United Nations Refugee Agency for resettlement in Clarkston. Most arrived with nothing but their clothes and owing thousands of dollars to a government agency for the cost of their one-way plane ticket to America. As the refugees arrived and changed Clarkston, long-time residents developed resentment and opposition mobilized.
St. John's research for "Outcasts United" led to the acclaimed series of front-page New York Times stories about the Fugees team and the struggle of Clarkston, Ga., to adapt to its new identity. St. John has appeared on NBC's "The Today Show," National Public Radio, MSNBC, CNN and other outlets to discuss his reporting for the book.
Besides the New York Times, St. John has written for The New Yorker, Wired, Slate and The New York Observer. His other best-selling book is "Rammer Jammer Yellow Hammer: a Road Trip into the Heart of Fan Mania" (2004).
St. John's appearance concludes events connected to BSC's annual fall Campus Read, when students, faculty and staff read one book. Fugees coach, Luma Mufleh, spoke at BSC Nov. 9 on the topic, "Changing the World One Game at a Time."